Friday, October 26, 2012

DT Flash: 1988 Mazda 323 GTX for $1500

We at Daily Turismo are fans of the little Mazda 323 GTX; it was an all wheel drive rally-bred homologated turbo car introduced in the US a full 13 years before Subaru's WRX made it to our shores. Perhaps the little Mazda was too good for its time, since only 1,243 of them were sold in the two years it was available here. Regardless, this is a cheap, entertaining pocket rocket that should put a smile on any gearhead's face and we've found one for only $1500, here on craigslist in Valencia, CA.

The 323 GTX looks almost identical to a normal 323 hatchback.
The dual rear spoilers and 7-spoke alloy wheels are the only visible giveaways of its true identity.

Under the hood lurks the 132hp 1.6L B6 engine - basically an early Miata motor with a turbo and intercooler, mated to the 5-spd manual transaxle. This is a highly tunable engine and makes for a quick car given the 2600 lb curb weight. Lightening the car would make an even better performer. 

The seller didn't include any overall front shots of the car, but light damage to the hood is visible in this picture.
Not a big issue, since it should be interchangeable with any standard 323 hood if desired.

The awesome instrument cluster in these cars can be seen here in an earlier DT writeup - another cool feature of the GTX. The seller of this car claims a decent amount of recent maintenance, upgrades to larger anti-roll bars, 168k miles, and reliable operation. At only $1500 it does have some issues that the new owner should address, but it would be hard to resist at this price. Check out Dave Coleman's Sport Compact Car buyer's guide for the GTX, which explains some of the common issues and tuning tricks to get to 180hp. With the locking center diff, that much power in a small package would make for a mean little amateur rallycrosser and a fun Daily Turismo.

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  1. ~ the August article said '2100 lb pod-racer' as opposed to '2600 lb curb weight' for this unit. that's a large difference. anyone know the definitive answer?

    1. Our boffins are telling us that it's likely closer to the 2600 lb figure...

    2. ~ comparing 323 GTX buyers guide link w/ Wikipedia specs i think the 2100lb number is for the base Familia.
      i wonder what the reason for the sale is. sees like another screaming DT deal.

  2. Is it my imagination, or is the dent on the hood about the size and shape of an ass-print?

  3. Owned two of them in the past. Great cars

  4. Not to confuse the issue, it was Scot in San Jose that owned two of these. Not sure how many the other Scot owned

    1. ~ thanks for clearing things up, Scot in SJ. i have not had the good fortune to own any of the 1200+ sold in the states. for that matter i have only actually seen a handful. i'd love to drive one. - scot in StL.


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